Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Break and Needing to Write

 Writing has been slow lately because so many other things in my life have been keeping me busy, and then when I have had time, I just wanted to turn my mind of and read someone else's books instead of working on mine.

Amazon Author Page link:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004458ES2

 But spring has arrived and my husband had his spring break 2 weeks ago, so this week when my school is on our break, I haven't got a lot distracting me, and delving back into the active word generating is appealing again.  It is something many other writers share with me, that the ideas seem to blossom when you are away from the keyboard and yet when you sit down to write you struggle to find one or two words at a time.  My theory is that my story generating state is a lot like my pre-sleep state, because I come up with the best ideas just as I am drifting off to sleep and I have to get up right then and write them down or all I will remember in the morning is that I have forgotten a great idea.

Spring here is generating new growth and encouraging me to get outside, even though there is pollen everywhere stinging my eyes and making my skin irritated, the beauty makes me want to create as well.

Usually I work about three days a week as a substitute teacher and the rest of the week I can write, do chores and try to sell my books. Now I have started a long term class of 4/5th grade students, so I am busy all the time, but getting to do some really cool things.  We are gong on a three hour sail on a tall ship, and I get to actually reach my Double time on the Oregon Trail book as part of the curriculum here for both American History and reading.  When Del Norte County Schools Director of curriculum approved the use of my novel, I had no dream that I would actually be in a 5th grade class to teach it.

So along with writing, and trying to lesson plan, and spring clean and get ready to be a grandma soon, I am also going to the beach and to the drive-in movie and puttering in the yard.  Life is good, and if you care to read one of my books check out the links above, and please, add a review if you have time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Finding a Class Reading my Novel

 I work as both a writer and as a substitute teacher. The two are mostly unconnected although talking to kids helps me to think of ideas for my writing and to make my characters really talk like the kids do. Recently, walking through the hall before school. I found myself suddenly surrounded by a group of girls, "Mrs Goode! We are reading your book. I love the way you go back and forth in time,"
and on and on while I stand amazed.

That is WHY!!

  I found out it is Mrs. Hooper and her class reading it. A few informed me which 1 kid doesn't like it. I actually laughed - 1 kid doesn't? That is such a Win! Thank you Sandi !  I am lucky because this wonderful teacher first read my book with her book club, a group of a dozen adults, and chose to share it with her class.  And then I am also lucky because a class set of 38 books was purchased last year by the school district's instructional media center.

 Of course, that kind of luck starts with some book promotion on my part and it is hard for me to add promoting and sales to an already busy life as a mom, teacher, writer. It is also not the best match with the shy, observer type personality that a writer tends to be, but years of teaching have taught me too, and I can speak up when I have to.

So one of the best bits of advice that I read on Twitter was the suggestion that every free copy of your book that you put out into the world is an ambassador, working away while you are not looking, to promote your writing.

In this case, I gave a copy of my book to a 5th grade teacher, she read it and suggested it to her book club, which bought 10 copies.  Then they had me come talk to them.  I also gave a book to another substitute teacher, she gave it to her husband, who gave it to the director of curriculum, who gave it to the IMC Librarian with the instructions to go to Amazon and order a class set.

It doesn't always work so well. A lot of give away books, I never hear about again, but some result in wonderful reviews on Goodreads or in blog posts.

 So, three day later I was back at the school where they had started my novel.  This time the reaction was bigger even than before. The kids surrounded me at the bus line, asking me to autograph their arms or notebooks or scraps of paper and begging to know specific details from the book,

"Why did you start the story in St. Louis?"

"Have you ever ridden to the top of the Gateway Arch?"

"Is that Old Grandma really based on yours?"

 And now I have kids, telling me that they want to be writers, and asking me how.

I have kids asking for a sequel

and when I tell them that the next book has been begun

and that it is about Volcanoes and Pompeii and My. St. Helens and connecting two boys through 1901 years, they sound as excited as I do.

 I find that I did get to visit many of the Oregon Trail sites as I researched and wrote, but I probably won't get near Pompeii or Vesuvius, and yet I have learned to travel without ever leaving my desk, and to take classrooms full of kids with me on the journey and I thank my lucky starts every day for this gift.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Spring into a good book, with links

Duffy Barkley Is Not a Dog
Duffy Barkley: Seek Well
Double Time On the oregon Trail

Today I went to Substitute teach at a grade school as I usually do, but I didn't know that one of the classrooms was reading one of my books.  as I walked toward the breakfast crowd, I found myself surrounded, and by now I expect hugs and questions, like, "who are you subbing for?" but I didn't expect

"We are reading your Oregon Trial book!" 

"I love your book."

"I like the way that you move back and forth through time"

"One boy doesn't like it,"


'One boy doesn't like it ?   One! 

In a class of over 30??


 Several Times lately, I have had people ask me for links to the connections where my books and I can be found, So I decided that I need to do another post with some links.  As usual I wanted to sprinkle my blog with pictures, because I am a Words & Pictures kind of person.  I wonder, if my major role in life isn't to observe how beautiful things seem to me, and then record those observations in my writing, my photographs and my paintings.  I love being alive in this wonderful world, even though I have to play around in fantasy and try to create a world of my own, at the same time I am loving this one.

Dixie Goode
Amazon Author Page link:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004458ES2
Book Genre:  Fantasy/Young Adult
Redgage (pictures and links)  
createspace Duffy Barkley Paperback book 1  https://www.createspace.com/3450238
"             "    " "            "        "            book 2  https://www.createspace.com/3649425

The Double Time On The Oregon Trail links

kindle book

paperback on Createspace

paperback on amazon

 and of course you should be able to ask your local librarian or bookstore to get any of my books

So have a happy spring, and if you do read something I wrote, even if you are the one who hates it, Thank you - and BTW Book Reviews are my favorite treat to discover online.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

 Life has been going quickly past this school year.  I have not written as much as I would like but then again, I have not been completely away from my stories either and my real life competes with the fantasies I try to put down in book form.
 It has truly been a beautiful winter here, which is not really a good thing over the long run.  Days in the redwood coast in January and February were not supposed to be near 70 and sunny, but even though it threatens dry wells and fiery summers, I have been enjoying it and getting into the trees and to the beach

 I also went up to Eugene with my husband and while he was involved in a music festival I explored the old cemetery. Not sure why but there is an attraction to old, decaying places like decrepit barns and mossy tombstones

 Spring weather should be rainy and it finally has come but not enough yet even though my house got 10 inches of rain in 8 day.  the river spot we love should be at flood stage this time of year, 29 feet and is often over that in January, but was only 8 feet before the rain started last week, and even now only got to 19 feet before dropping back to about 13 now

 Valentine's Day is fortunately not just for couples.  I never see my music teacher husband on Valentine's day as he is in the next town up delivering Valen-tunes - but there are many people I love and so Valentine's day is a reminder that every day, my life is blessed by a multitude of good people

It is a full moon valentine's day but the rain is blessing us heavily and therefore I can't see it, so instead here is a simple painting I did my freshman year of college.

Now enough avoiding the novel. Going to open that document and figure out why Duffy Barkley is marooned on an Island and refusing to move forward

Sunday, February 2, 2014

When ideas are offered as gifts

I don't know why I didn't think of asking you this before. It's a question that has really bothered me but . . . sometimes the brain overlooks the obvious.  It is a question that has to do with talking about your writing as it is a work in progress, and having other people, either in person or on line, offer you suggestions and ideas which feel perfect.

Then when you use the idea and flesh it out in your story, do you really own it?

Anyway, while my two boys were in grade school, playing youth sport soccer we'd spend a lot of time at the park and to pass the time with the one who wasn't practicing at that time, I'd tell stories and they'd add challenging ideas and a few years later they had developed into my first NaNoWriMo Novel which I published through createspace and kindle. 

But in one of those soccer side, story sessions one of their friends was there listening, and got really into it, and told me to use a character he made up. She was perfect and fit so well and I drilled him on wether he had seen her in a game or book or movie and he swore he made her up just then. Well it was five years later when I took his basic framework and used her as a minor character, but her name was perfect and she seemed so well imagined, I was always afraid he'd stollen her from somewhere. So has anyone heard of

Miskva, Guardian of the singing trees of belle island, who is a seer of prophecy and riddles in a giant but broken pyramid that came into the world as it was being created.

Any manga creation or TV show come to mind, a game or movie or comic book? I'm pretty sure it's a case of can't be too similar the way I created her story from the bare outline above but still I'm curious.  I even had people run her through plagiarism testers and they came back clean, that it hadn't been used in any book - which of course shows how many people have read Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog, because she was used in both my Duffy Books and they are out there.

 I'm remembering this kid was into Star Wars but wasn't allowed to read Tolkien due to parent's religion and ideas about wizards being evil. He loved some card collecting game but it wasn't Pokemon because that also was taboo. He was home schooled so the kids only knew him through soccer and we've lost touch or I'd ask him again

You know I sometimes feel a twinge of guilt using ideas from the NaNoWriMo Website challenge thread too, like it is somehow wrong even though those challenges are put up with the intent that people would use them, but I've incorporated a baby dragon who gets sick in water and loves baths and is named Fred. That was on the nano site forums dare thread, telling anyone who thought they could, to incorporate him into the story, but I don't even know who suggested it, to thank them in my notes.